13 Christmas Traditions Only Southerners Will Understand

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Tom Tapp dressed as Santa Claus walks along the beach passing out candy canes and posing for pictures with beach goers on December 20, 2013 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Deep-fried Christmas turkey, anyone?

I grew up in Davie, Florida, a town about 20 minutes west of Ft. Lauderdale and about an hour north of bustling Miami. While most people today wouldn’t typically consider Broward County part of the traditional “South,” my town was very much a down-home, Southern values kind of place.

Davie is famous for its wide open spaces, beautiful horse farms, and lush orange groves. Every year, the town puts on the annual Orange Blossom Festival parade and rodeo championship. People ride their horses up and down Davie Road., where you can check out the old Davie school house or drop by Grif's tack shop. Local residents dance the night away at The Roundup while tourists check out the wildlife at Flamingo Gardens. Oh, and if you want the best BBQ in South Florida, you know where to go: Shorty’s.

Now that I’ve proven myself a true Southerner, let’s talk about something only true Southerners can relate to: celebrating Christmas below the Mason-Dixon line. Below are 13 things you'll understand if you grew up spending the holiday season in the South.

  1. Buying a Christmas tree with palm trees in the background. You thought Fraser Firs were so exotic.
  2. Lighting a fire the second it hit 60 degrees.
  3. Wearing shorts and a t-shirt for your picture with Santa at the mall instead of a coat and hat.
  4. You didn’t own a coat or hat.
  5. Playing in 20 tons of snow “shipped down from the North Pole.” Or, you know, made from an artificial snow machine. Same difference.
  6. Praying every night for snow even though you knew it would never happen.
  7. Going ice skating just so you could feel closer to that exotic land called “up north.”
  8. Deep frying your Christmas turkey.
  9. Getting a bunch of oranges in your stocking on Christmas morning. Totally normal present from Santa, right?
  10. Going to the Waffle House on Christmas Day and running into literally everyone you knew because it’s the only place that was open.
  11. Going to the beach on Christmas Day and forgetting to grab your sweatshirt because a cold front was coming through. Brr.
  12. Eating some version of pork, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day because your mom swore it was for good luck.
  13. Complaining for years that your parents deprived you of a real Christmas, but looking back realizing how lucky you were you never had to shovel snow. Thanks, mom and dad!
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